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But it's a dry cold

I frequently watch Winnipeg news because it comes on earlier here in B.C. I find the weather reports so amusing. They say things like "it's a good day of only -7 C." In Winnipeg in February you cannot even go out with just a T-shirt -- ever.

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What with the mosquitoes in summer and freezing in winter, why would anyone want to live in Winnipeg? Am I missing something? Perhaps people are tied by some job or family. Perhaps it is the housing. But you can get cheap housing up the valley. You do not even have mountains or ocean access.

Buds are starting to form here now, so at least in Winnipeg you do not have to get the lawn mower in shape like we do.


Whonnock, B.C.

Misogyny is key challenge

Your Feb. 21 editorial God knows, about the Harper government's new Office of Religious Freedom, makes some good points. As a woman of faith, however, I found the lack of women representatives at the display of religious leaders standing behind Stephen Harper at the ceremony in an Ahmadi place of worship rather telling.

The most critical challenge facing our world today is misogyny and the resulting violence against women. Harper would have done well to allocate these $5 million toward promoting education of men, here and abroad, to a more compassionate, humanistic and spiritually inclusive attitude toward women.

Service providers in Canada are struggling to provide sanctuary to women in domestic violence situations while funding to such services are drastically cut and undermined.


Islamic Social Services Association



The freedom to practise one's religion can result in the suppression of other human rights. Sexual orientation, birth control and women's rights can be suppressed in the name of religious beliefs.

Is our government saying that religious freedom is more important than those rights? It would seem so, else they would also create offices for each of those rights as well, or not bother to create the Office of Religious Freedom and allow the Foreign Affairs Department to represent Canada's interests in all human rights.



Seeing around snowbanks

In response to Doug Speirs' Feb. 22 column, Italians have nothing on Winnipeg drivers, about the danger of "inching" and then "lurching" into traffic, perhaps people wouldn't drive like this if there weren't massive snowbanks blocking their view of oncoming traffic.

I drive a small car (often with my two small children in the back seat) and I frequently find myself entering traffic with a hope and a prayer that no one is coming, because I can't see clearly past the snowbanks. It's a miracle that I haven't been in an accident yet.



Overcoming hardship

Re: Child-care ruling seen as prod for employers (Feb. 7). Mia Rabson's reporting on Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) officer Fiona Johnstone's experience of discrimination based on her family status shines a light on what few Canadians realize: that one's family status is protected under Canada's federal human rights laws as well as those of Manitoba.

My heartfelt thanks and congratulations go out to Johnstone on her successful fight against the discrimination she experienced as a working mother. The emotional and physical hardship that she likely endured during her nine-year ordeal cannot be underestimated.

And what of the financial hardships Johnstone likely suffered? In November 2012, the Supreme Court ruled that people who have been discriminated against are not considered to be vulnerable persons in Canada. This means that even those who are successful in their discrimination case cannot have any of their legal costs awarded as remedies by the court.

What is truly shameful is that Johnstone had to fight to have her fundamental human rights upheld in none other than Canada's public service workplace. If our own federal public service cannot abide by our own human rights laws, then who are we as Canadians to claim that we are the standard-bearer of human rights throughout the world?



Program has value

Re: OT bill for ticket drive rolls in (Feb. 21). Traffic violations occur frequently and extra enforcement would help to modify the poor habits of Winnipeg drivers. One of the positive results would be fewer accidents, which in turn would decrease the payouts from Manitoba Public Insurance and maybe lead to a reduction in our insurance premiums.

While some concerns have been voiced about the use of officers who could otherwise be working on other types of crime, it would appear that Project Drive has proven that a dedicated traffic unit is financially viable.

This would boost much-needed enforcement and promote driver safety, which is what policing is about, according to the Winnipeg Police Association's Mike Sutherland, without decreasing the effort made to investigate other crimes.



A daring experiment

Re: Liberals showing some grit (Editorials, Feb. 19). Thank you for calling attention to the hard-working women and men who are campaigning all across Canada as contenders for the Liberal party leadership. That a Liberal leader cannot assume he (or she) will inevitably become our PM is an obvious conclusion to your editorial. However, let me offer dissenting opinions on two points.

First, as a political groupie for half a century, I have never heard a Liberal politician, or any politician, refer to his party as the "natural governing party." I hope that journalists will retire this ancient allegation of entitlement.

Second, we are witnessing a daring experiment in democratic outreach by Liberal party organizers. The party-leader election process in April is going to involve thousands of supporters and a new ballot format. Each of the candidates is addressing in different ways the challenge of advancing our national prosperity, not only regional interests.

The campaign design reflects the hope expressed by many Canadians that they will be represented in future sessions of Parliament by the open debate of a wide spectrum of viewpoints. In contrast, a controlling leader with a suppressed caucus, sheltered by secrecy, becomes static and isolated from innovative solutions to our common problems. This is true for left- or right-wing parties.

The benefit of a new leader chosen in a broad-based vote distinguishes the Liberals as a dynamic option in future general elections.



Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition February 25, 2013 A6

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